Men's hoops to face Vanderbilt in December
USF's men's basketball team will be one of four representing the Big East in next season's SEC/Big East Invitational, traveling to Nashville to play Vanderbilt on Dec. 16.
"It is certainly a privilege and great opportunity for USF to represent the Big East in the SEC/Big East Invitational," USF coach Stan Heath said in a statement. "Playing Vanderbilt in Nashville will be difficult and a great experience. We are looking forward to the challenge."
Vanderbilt, currently ranked 18th, is one of four ranked SEC schools slated for the event, with No. 8 Tennessee, No. 22 Mississippi and No. 25 Mississippi State. Only one of the Big East's representatives, No. 16 Marquette, is currently ranked, with Louisville and Cincinnati rounding out the league contingent. All four games will be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2.
The doubleheader at Nashville's Sommet Center will be USF-Vanderbilt and Marquette-Tennessee, and two days later, Cincinnati will play host to two games, with the Bearcats meeting Mississippi State and Louisville playing Mississippi.
USF coach Stan Heath, having spent five seasons at Arkansas before coming to USF, is well-versed in SEC basketball -- he has a 5-1 career record against Vandy. But USF has played only one game against an SEC team in the past five seasons, losing 72-70 at South Carolina in December 2004. Overall, USF is 7-34 all-time against SEC opponents, the last win coming in 1995 against Florida. Vanderbilt is one of three SEC schools the Bulls have beaten, earning a 66-65 win in Tampa in 1985.
For more information on the event, visit the aptly named bigeastsecinvitational.com. And yes, for a microscopic amount of league pride, secbigeastinvitational.com does not exist; one league gets first billing in the event, the other first in the URL. The site actually goes so far as to call the Nashville event the SEC/Big East Invitational, while the Cincinnati deal is the Big East/SEC Invitational. Forgive me for calling it the "USF-Vanderbilt" game and not alternating to "Vanderbilt-USF" in even-numbered paragraphs.